If you know me, or have seen my stand-up comedy, you’ll probably know that I lived in South Korea for 2008 and 2009, teaching English.
I love SoKo, we had the best time, but there are a lot of moments of cultural frustration and language frustration, and race frustration, and general frustration at living in the second most densely populated city in the world. I randomly stumbled across my (best friend in Korea’s) facebook post from 2008. With a whole lot of questions about life in “the West” versus our life in “the East”. If you’ve lived in Korea, these will definitely make you chuckle, and remember a time when even buying a scarf took a whole day, a whole lot of miming and still didn’t work.
(That’s a true tale of how I introduced the above mentioned (Best friend in Korea) to another friend of mine, Doug – (mentioned in her post below). They are pictured below, far right. They are now married… but the tale of how they met over a scarf is for another day.)
If you’ve never lived in Korea, this list will help you to count your blessings and realise that while the grass may seem greener on the otherside, in a lot of instances, that grass is probably paved over and has an old Korean lady hawking a loogie onto it.
Korea… The ‘Good Life’?
Our mutual good friend, John Steffenauer, recently told Doug and I that we were living the ‘good life’. We both love and respect John, but we strongly disagree… so we’ve posted some questions that we have for him.
Do you worry about mosquitoes in your bedroom?
Do you spray bug spray around your bed to ensure a good nights sleep?
Do you ever see a bathtub?
Do you have to duck to get your head wet in the shower?
Can you watch TV and understand what they’re saying?
Do you flush your toilet paper? Such a good question. Really, John. Do you?
Does your landlord walk into your apartment, at any time, without knocking?
Do your feet ever walk on carpet?
Do you bake things in an oven?
Do you cook your food on a Bunsen burner?
Do you have microwave?
Can you drink your tap water?
Do you use a dryer?
Do you have to put your clothes in a pillowcase when you wash them?
Do you get to choose where you live?
Do you have a balcony or a porch?
Do you have to squeegee or leave a fan running to dry your bathroom?
Do the fans there kill people?
Do you watch live sports games on TV?
Is someone currently threatening you with nuclear warfare?
Do you dodge piles of vomit on your way to work?
Do you have to dodge stumbling drunk old men at 6pm?
Can you read signs on the street?
Can you buy shoes, shirts, pants, socks, condoms, or underwear that fit?
Do you have stars in your sky?
Do you have a blue sky or is it always hazy?
Do you breathe fresh air?
Do people usually stare at you when you’re outside?
Does your neighborhood smell like sewage?
Do women show their shoulders in public? Or just whores?
Can you buy canned air and not end up with a can of Ben-Gay?
Do your movies have Korean subtitles?
Do you drink alcoholic beer at a horse track?
Do your cab drivers ever take you for ‘a ride’?
Do you drive a car?
Do you ever have to smell silkworm larvae on the sidewalk?
Do you throw your garbage on the street or use a dumpster?
Do you have bills larger than a ten?
Do people apologize to you on the street if they bump into you?
Do you have liquor stores?
Does the rain there make your hair fall out?
Are you served fermented cabbage with every meal?
Does the food there look at you?
Do you get to eat with a fork or two little pieces of metal?
Do you wear your shoes in restaurants?
Do you sit in chairs at restaurants?
Do you order items on a menu that AREN’T pictured?
Are you able to read ingredient lists?
Can you buy turkey, limes, pop tarts, Doritos, or any snack food that ISN’T squid, fish, or octopus flavored?
Are ham and spam the same thing there?
Do you have to ‘moo’ at the grocery store lady to ask if what you’re buying is beef?
Really John? Really? The ‘good life’?
Written by Jennifer Reynolds (Nee Zubko) – Hometown: Tennessee, USA.
aka one of my Best Friends in Korea.